Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

TGen and Washington University researchers discover new approach to treating endometrial cancer

03.09.2008
Inhibitor turns 'off' receptors; stops the growth of endometrial tumors and kills cancer cells

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) today announced a new approach to treating endometrial cancer patients that not only stops the growth of tumors, but kills the cancer cells.

In a potentially major breakthrough, TGen scientists and collaborators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis discovered that introducing a particular inhibitor drug can turn "off'' receptors responsible for the growth of tumors in a significant number of patients with endometrial cancer.

And, they found that the inhibitor drug proved effective even in cancer tumors containing a commonly occurring mutant gene, PTEN, previously associated with resistance to drug treatment.

TGen's findings appear today in a paper published as a priority report by Cancer Research, a Philadelphia-based peer-reviewed journal dedicated to original cancer research.

A clinical trial based on the TGen study will start within the next year.

Dr. Pamela Pollock, an associate investigator in TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division and the paper's senior author, led a team that used the latest genome-scanning technology to sequence 116 endometrioid endometrial tumor samples. This work was done in association with Dr. Paul Goodfellow, an expert in endometrial cancer and a professor in the departments of Surgery and of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University.

Pollock and colleagues in May 2007 announced that they had discovered previously unrecognized alterations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene. The altered FGFR2 is present in the cancer cells of nearly 15 percent of women with endometrioid endometrial tumors. These kinds of tumors represent 80 percent of all endometrial cancers.

By introducing a commercially available inhibitor drug, PD173074, TGen researchers showed that they could stop the growth of tumors, and even kill cancer cells, in cases where the tumors contained the altered FGFR2 gene. The altered gene causes the receptors to get stuck in the "on'' position and signal the endometrial cells to grow out of control.

"These findings could accelerate the development of new treatments for endometrial cancer because there are already drugs in clinical trials that inhibit FGFR2 function,'' Pollock said.

Current treatment of endometrial cancer can involve surgical removal of the uterus, radiation and chemotherapy. While many women are successfully treated with these approaches, about 15 percent of those with endometrioid endometrial cancer have persistent or recurring tumors that are resistant to current drug therapies. Mutations in several genes previously have been identified in endometrial tumors, but they have not been suitable drug targets – until now.

"This targeted approach holds great promise for patients with uterine cancer (endometrioid endometrial) tumors that contain the FGFR2 mutation," said TGen physician-in-chief, Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, "and offers yet another powerful example of how genomic medicine is changing the way we look at and treat cancer."

Goodfellow agreed, "The discovery that endometrial cancer cells die when treated with an FGFR2 inhibitor - even when they carry other genetic abnormalities common in uterine cancers - suggests anti-FGFR2 therapies have great potential.''

The researchers' already established ties with the National Cancer Institute, which will assist with the clinical trials, should speed the development of new therapies, Goodfellow said. "Our collaborative group's strong ties with the NCI's Gynecologic Oncology Group will allow us to rapidly take our findings from the lab to patients.''

Endometrial cancer, which invades the inner wall of the uterus, is the most common gynecological cancer in the United States. This year more than 40,000 women will be diagnosed and nearly 7,500 women will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Among women, only breast, lung and colon cancers strike with more frequency. And while endometrial cancer is slow to develop, and often is not detected until after age 60, nearly one in eight women who are diagnosed die within five years, according to the ACS.

Pollock plans to start clinical trials with an FGFR inhibitor in endometrial cancer patients within a year. The trials will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Powell, a gynecologic oncologist and assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine.

Targeted drug therapy is a relatively new approach to cancer treatment that is based on identifying the abnormalities in cancer cells that cause them to grow uncontrollably. It involves treating tumors with drugs that specifically inhibit the activity of these genetic abnormalities.

This approach of targeted therapy allows oncologists to match the therapy to the specific genetic signature of each patient's tumor, a strategy that has been effective in multiple cancer types, including breast cancer, lung cancer and chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Galen Perry | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tgen.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>